News Story

District's Union Contract Ensures Bonus Money For Teachers

Parent volunteers take back seat to union rules

In the Troy School District, before parents are asked to volunteer at sporting events, teachers must be asked to serve as ticket takers, official timers, or “adult supervisors” where they make as much as $46.

Teachers can also make up to an extra $27.40 an hour for teaching additional classes while filling in for an absent teacher.

Michigan Capitol Confidential recently reported that 58 teachers in the Troy School District made $100,000 or more.

Kerry Birmingham, spokeswomen for the district, said only four teachers were making $100,000 or more based solely on their regularly assigned teacher’s salary. The top of scale for a teacher is $101,409. She said the others made money for various assignments that offered extra compensation.

"Some have applied for and accepted positions teaching extra courses, some teach summer school, some are also coaches (in fact some coach more than one sport) and some receive a stipend for additional jobs they've taken on within the district," Birmingham said in an email. "In each case, they do the work of more than one 'job' to earn the extra money and in many cases, it is far less expensive to the district to hire our current teachers for these positions than it would be to add additional employees to the payroll."

Birmingham said teachers who pick up an additional class during their work day make the $27.40 an hour. She used an example where a teacher may be needed to cover a class period for another teacher during a time that might otherwise be that teacher’s prep period.

Leon Drolet, chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, said that's not the way it works in the real world.

"At every other job in the world, usually when someone calls in sick, every other person pitches in and fills the need," Drolet said. "Nobody gets paid anything extra."

Drolet said such perks were part of a "really clever" strategy by the teachers' union to narrowly define a teacher's responsibilities so that any other duties entail extra compensation.

Teachers can earn the most by picking up coaching positions on the district’s teams. Coaching positions pay as much as $7,014 at the highest level. Intramural activities pay $400.

Being named a department chairperson comes with a $3,023 stipend. Monitoring the computer club brings in an extra $2,419.

Weight room supervisors make an extra $1,066 a season and can bring in $2,519 for the entire sports year.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.